Thursday, August 21, 2014

Exploring: Connecticut

Hi, it's Annie, again! Changing leaves, a chill in the air, apple cider (or wine)...I am beyond excited for Autumn. Don't get me wrong, this summer has been great (with vacations to the Jersey Shore and Rehobeth Beach, DE, all while exploring more of Pittsburgh). But I love the Fall and all that comes with it, including more traveling. OK so I've never been to New England in the Fall, but it just feels like the perfect time to visit! Which is exactly what I'll be doing during the unofficial start to the season, Labor Day. 

My little family, plus a friend from college, will be traveling to Hartford, CT to visit our dear friend Eric. We all attended Point Park University together in Pittsburgh five years ago (!), but this is the first visit up North. It will be a great time to catch up and give us a chance to explore more of this beautiful country. 

The plan is to relax, but also see as much as possible. Luckily, we have a long weekend to do it. We're looking forward to spending an afternoon in West Hartford at Elizabeth Park, which looks just beautiful! From the pictures online it almost reminds me of Regent's Park in London, where my friends, including Eric, and I studied abroad during college! Also in Hartford is the Science Center. I'm excited to take Jack there! It's apparently one of the best places in Connecticut to take kids! Eric also wants to take us to Mystic, CT. We'll probably check out the Aquarium and Seaport. I'm also looking forward to exploring the town and eating at one of their many great restaurants! And as long as there's time, we plan to do a wine tour at one of the local wineries! 

So without wishing away the summer, I'm going to soak up the last bit of the warm sun,  and know that I have a fantastic weekend planned to welcome a new season! I'll share more about my trip in September! And then I'll be off to LA

Friday, August 15, 2014

High Five For Friday!!!

1.) Getting ready to go back to school makes me want to kiss Molly every time I walk past her.

2.) Street art is everywhere! My mom and I were just driving and we saw this on the side of a gas station! 

3.) I think it has become mandatory to have at least one photo of my nephew in each of my 'Friday' posts! Haha. These toes are just too cute. I love them :) 

4.) North Park is GORGEOUS!! I would have never guessed that there was such an amazing escape less than 30 minutes from my house! 

5.) I have been debating lilac hair and white blonde hair (like my fav blogger @alwaysjudging)... I think I may be leaning towards the white blonde though. 

Do you have any exciting plans for tonight? Do you like lilac hair or white blonde better? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lovely Find!

Wow! I haven't done one of these posts in a while! I promise you all that I have been finding deals in the mean time just haven't had a chance to share them! 

The deal I got on these Jeffrey Campbell sandals is wayyyy too amazing to not share! While walking around the alleyways that make up the Rehoboth shopping area, we stopped in South Moon Under.  This store is amazing! It has a mixture of different designer clothes that are all beachy. 

No matter how tempting these designer goods were, I knew I didn't have very much money to spend so I headed to the sale section after drooling over some amazing bags and crop tops. 

These Jeffrey Campbell Sandals look just like the ones that my favorite blogger @alwaysjudging wears! They were marked at $35 while the original price was $135 so I just couldn't pass up buying them! 

Now every time I wear them, I get so happy! Not just because they are beautiful shoes but because I paid such an awesome price for them! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rehoboth Beach

Wow, it really has been a busy Summer! We've gone from London, to Italy, to Ohio, to the Outerbanks, to the Jersey Shore, and now to Rehoboth Beach! 

For as long as I can remember, my parents tried to plan a family vacation every summer! These trips are some of my greatest (and most exciting) childhood memories. So, when they told me that we were all going down to Rehoboth, Delaware (one of our favorite spots to go when I was a baby), I was beyond excited! 

It was Jack's first big Perri Vacation! 

Our week in Rehoboth was a very traditional beach vacation. We went to the beach everyday (obviously!). We spent some time at the main beach in Rehobeth, near the boardwalk, and we also went to Cape Henlopen State Park beach. At Cape Henlopen the waves are milder and safer for younger kids like Jack, plus it was a bit less-crowded than the main beach! We also walked the boardwalk nearly every night, ate seafood and ice cream everyday and shopped! The shops in Rehobeth are so cute. There are so many little side streets and alley ways with the locally-owned shops. We also took advantage of the no sales tax at the outlets near our hotel. 

It's been a long time since my family all traveled together...or stayed in such close quarters, an 8-hour car ride and a single hotel room. The trip wasn't without some tension as we got used to 24-hour a day interaction. But overall, we had a great time. We reminisced about past trips and got to enjoy Jack as he experienced all these new things. It also showed how much I have changed as a traveler since being on my own in Italy and England. I have a different way of experiencing some things while traveling compared to my parents. To each their own, but it was really interesting to see the differences. 

Have you been back to your childhood vacation spot? What did you think? I'd love to know in the comments! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From my profile to my apartment...

Everyday the camera roll on my phone and Instagram profile grow bigger and bigger. After volunteering at that mobile photography workshop in London, being more active and creative on Instagram has become a daily goal of mine! 

However, recently I began thinking about how the more creative I get with my pictures....the farther away from me they seem (and the farther I have to scroll to see them). I have always loved scrapbooking and being able to share my photos not only with others but to be able to enjoy them myself. Scrolling through them on a tiny screen everyday isn't exactly what I have in mind when I want reminiscence about my time abroad.  

Thankfully, we live in a time where all I had to do was a quick Google search 'How to get Instagram photos developed' and I had tons of choices at my fingertips to explore! After comparing prices and quality, I decided to use Printstagram!

In my first order, I got almost 50 photos total for less than 25 dollars! Not only was the price the best I could find online, the quality of these prints are amazing! They are the perfect little squares to decorate my apartment with and even include a white, Polaroid-esque border on each one.  

I can't wait to hang them up in my new apartment and surround myself with memories from around Pittsburgh, my semesters in Rome and in London, and other places I have traveled to with Instagram!

Monday, August 11, 2014

This weekend I:

Watched: Keegan Allen (aka Toby from Pretty Little Liars) sign photographs in the mall 
Listened: to Ed Sheeran's "Tenerife Sea" over and over again
Learned: that I liked Aldi brand greek yogurt more than Chobani 
Ate: above said yogurt 
Read: Eating Well Magazine 
Drank: a small strawberry milkshake
Thought: I want to go back to London soon 
Wished: I ate slower 
Realized: Eating healthy and exercising can be fun 
Bought: green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and black tea :)  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Jersey Shore Trip

Hi again! It's Annie, Hope's sister, here to share my recent beach vacation with you! It was the first trip for my little family consisting of me, my husband Ben, and our son Jack. We traveled to the Jersey shore for a short weekend getaway. 

We left right after work on Friday night, mostly so that we didn't have to take time off work, but it's actually best to leave close to a baby's bedtime when taking a road trip, so it worked out. Jack slept most of the car ride. We stopped about every 90 minutes to stretch our legs, change the diaper and give a feeding, if needed. We also had lots of soft toys for Jack to play with in the car to keep him occupied and a mirror so that we could check on him from the front seats. I was really nervous about the six hour drive, but it turned out to actually be pleasant!

We stayed with a friend from college in Bayside, New Jersey. It was a really cute town, but we spent our short trip mostly at the beach. We spent Saturday at the Island Beach State Park on the Barnegat Peninsula. I was surprised to learn that most beaches in New Jersey charge admission. We payed $10 since our friend Dave is a resident of New Jersey, otherwise it would have been $20 per car. The beach was crowded, but not too crowded in my opinion. It was perfect for people watching and laying out in the sun listening to someone else's radio playing a local pop station.

Jack didn't particularly love the beach. Everytime the sand touched his feet he screamed. He did love the water, though (as expected because bathtime is his favourite!). We sat right at the shoreline and let the water hit us every couple waves. We forgot an umbrella so for our next trip to the ocean we got two! It would certainly have made it easier with a baby. I lathered sunblock on Jack about once every 30 minutes. He got a bit fussy but eventually settled down for a nap in his stroller with a big sunshade. 

After a long day at the beach we had dinner at Harpoon Willy's because Ben had been craving their crab cakes since the last time he was there, several years ago! It was a cute, historical restaurant situated right on the Manasquan River. It was built in 1792 and is one of the oldest buildings in the community of Wall, NJ. Their crab cakes did not disappoint Ben, and I enjoyed a lobster fennel salad with brie (OMG, so good).

No trip to the shore is complete without a trip to the boardwalk so later in the evening that's right where we headed. We decided to skip the Seaside Heights Boardwalk (of MTV's Jersey Shore) in favor of the more family friendly Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant, NJ. Not that we didn't expect this but parking was expensive and it was really crowded. We spent only about an hour there because Jack started to get really cranky and tired...OK, the adults too! Maybe in the future we can take advantage of the carnival rides and games and the aquarium. 

Dave wouldn't let us leave New Jersey without trying pork roll, or Taylor Ham. I learned that people in New Jersey love their pork roll. It's just a processed ham that's pan fried, but it's origins go back to 1856! Apparently there's a lot of history with this meat. It was good. I'd have it again with my breakfast. I can't remember the name of the diner we ate breakfast at, but Dave assured us that pork roll is pretty good at most places in the Jersey shore. 

After breakfast we loaded the car and headed home. It was a bit harder this time because Jack was very awake. We took turns sitting in the back with him. We sang songs, gave baby massages, and tried to keep him laughing. Since it was our first family trip I was pretty emotional. It's amazing to think about all the adventures Jack will have in life and this was his first one out of state! I hope he has the opportunity and drive to travel all over the world just like his Zia Hope! Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Best of London Round Up!

How is it August already? Honestly, I am so confused on how that seems like just a few weeks ago I was exploring London and the thought of coming back to America was in the distance. But my mind is playing tricks on me because it has been over 3 months...3 MONTHS!

Below is the mother of all round ups including my top 15 favorite experiences I had while studying abroad in England! It was quite a difficult task to achieve but here they are:

1) Meeting David all-time favourite actor

2) Experiencing London Fashion Week

3) Exploring East London every weekend


5) Learning about mobile photography

6) Chatting with Joe Thomas

7) Walking around Regents Park every Sunday

8) Eating the best cake of my life

9) Finally getting to experience Chelsea, The Royal Borough 

10) Walking by this amazing pub everyday

11) Going to the Doctor Who Experience

12) Walking around Oxford

13) Eating a weekly full English breakfast

14) Seeing Jack Whitehall and Ed Sheeran live 

15) Walking around the streets where Rose Tyler from Doctor Who lived

Now, I know that no one can have all of these same experiences that I did. But, let me tell you, London is full to the brim with cool opportunities! All you have to do is wake up in the morning being open to anything and everything London has to offer and it won't let you down!